Family struggles to heal after son’s death from fentanyl overdose

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – He was 20 years old and his father said he still can’t believe he’s gone. Jake Palet would have been out on a baseball field on this Thursday afternoon with his father and older brother helping to coach the young players on the Bonita Vista High School baseball team.

His father Dave, the head coach of the Barons was thrilled that Jake was taking on the role of his assistant. The team was only two practices into the season, when tragedy struck.

Last October, Jake took a pill which he thought was Xanax, a medication he took occasionally to fight the feelings of depression and anxiety. After taking the pill, Jake died.

The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death was caused by “accidental fentanyl intoxication.” Fentanyl is so powerful that even a tiny quantity equal to a few grains of salt can be deadly.

Jake’s father said the question of who gave his son the fentanyl laced pill is still under investigation. Josh Palet, Jake’s brother said there’s a lesson for others.

“Unless it’s prescribed, don’t take anything. It could be laced with fentanyl. It could be laced with anything. Don’t take it, don’t even think about taking it. My brother thought he was just going to take a Xanax and go to sleep and he never woke up again,” Palet said.

It’s now almost six months since Jake’s death, and the family’s grief still feels like a heavy weight.

As his father told us, “For us, being on this baseball field a couple hours a day, it’s the only time, where it feels normal. Of course we miss him, but we know he would be here with us too and that’s the one thing that makes us feel closest to him.”

Jake was one of the 90 people in San Diego County in 2018 whose death was caused by the opioid, fentanyl.

Categories: Local San Diego News